The company has applied for two new salmon farm licences in a fjord where Grieg Seafood already has one operating farm, and which is an area already approved through a multi-stakeholder coastal planning process. (The author was one of the first to identify these sites as suitable and approved for aquaculture, and thus has an interest in getting them approved for use.) As expected, a number of the regular suspects are mounting a fight against the approval of these sites, some of whom expressed their views through letters to this week’s Wednesday edition of the Campbell River Mirror. The paper’s Friday edition should contain this letter from Mr. Hawthorn:
“I am writing to update your readers on Grieg Seafood’s new farm site applications in the Clio Channel area north of Campbell River. In the first place it is important to ask why? Why do we need to farm fish?
It is well known that wild fish stocks cannot keep up with the growing global demand for seafood. There are simply not enough fish in the sea to keep up with the needs of our increasing human population.
Solutions are needed and at Grieg Seafood we are committed to being part of the solution. Farming fish, just like we farm other food, is the only way to meet this urgent need. These two farm sites will further enable B.C. to be part of the solution, benefiting wild fish stocks, our economy and our community.
As part of the comprehensive information-gathering process relating to these two farms, an environmental and habitat evaluation has been undertaken and submitted as part of these applications. There is now a robust review of our two proposed farm sites by both federal and provincial regulators. This is science-based and thoroughly evaluates the proposals before a decision is made.
The Cohen Commission report in 2012 provides further evidence that salmon farming and wild salmon stocks can live well together, with farm-raised salmon complimenting wild-caught fish in the market place. Commissioner Cohen stated that there was no evidence that salmon farms were negatively affecting the Fraser River Sockeye (Final Report Volume 3, p.24). Further, the commissioner concluded that the 2009 collapse was caused by ocean conditions in the Strait of Georgia.
On-going research has given further confidence that salmon farms do not negatively affect wild salmon runs here in British Columbia. Our sector continues to partner with independent research agencies to investigate wild salmon population dynamics and health. It is also worth remembering that there were over 60 recommendations made by Commissioner Cohen that didn’t relate to aquaculture that will also help to guide fisheries management decisions into the future. The recommendations that did relate to our farming sector were all endorsed and fully supported by all of British Columbia’s salmon farmers.
We are also very pleased to note that the Tlowitsis Tribe whose traditional territory these two farms are in has indicated their full support for these developments.
If approved, these two new farms will directly create six new well-paying, permanent, full time jobs in the region as well as support and create further employment in our head office in Campbell River, at the processing plant on Quadra Island, as well as a wide range of service and supplier jobs. There is an Open House in Port McNeill at the Black Bear Resort from 4 - 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 10 for members of the public to come and meet our staff, ask questions and provide comments.”